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Teachers are often skilled at asking open questions in content areas such as Exploring Linear Equations; however, in math class, too often teachers only look for the ‘right answer’. Questions that encourage students to do more than recall formulas or set processes may stimulate deeper thinking and reasoning. Good questioning strategies also allow teachers to differentiate instruction. [Small, 2009]. In this course, Questioning Techniques in the Math Classroom, you will learn about the craft of fostering productive student dialogue in the math classroom as a way to improve learning outcomes. 


This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Adult numeracy teachers at all levels of experience and confidence.
  • Participants who are currently teaching math or have access to a math classroom in which they can try out and practice new techniques

This four-part course examines the following interconnected topics: creating a culture of classroom discourse, asking effective math questions to probe and further student thinking, providing wait / think time, and making the most of student mistakes. Through exposure to research, discussion with other participants, and self-observation and reflection, participants will explore and implement strategies to prioritize student reasoning and communication in the math classroom.  

This course involves two asynchronous online sessions and two half-day face-to-face sessions, approximately 4 hours each, 16 hours total.

  • May 11, 10:00am-2:30pm: Session 1 (half day face-to-face, Holyoke, MA)
  • May 12-May 17: Session 2 (online, self-paced)
  • May 18, 10:00am-2:30pm: Session 3 (half day face-to-face. Holyoke, MA)
  • May 19- May 27: Session 4 (online, self-paced)

To receive a certificate of completion, participants must fully complete the online session and attend both face-to-face-sessions. For more information, please contact Mollie Behan ( 

[1] Small, M. (2009). Good questions: Great ways to differentiate mathematics instruction. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Learning Objectives: 

Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Describe characteristics of a classroom where discourse is valued
  • Identify areas of strength and weakness in your current teaching with respect to classroom discourse
  • Write and incorporate open-ended math questions tailored to your students’ needs
  • Evaluate your own questioning pattern and integrate a range of effective math questions into your practice
  • Describe how increased ‘think time’ and ‘wait time’ benefits both you and your students
  • Take concrete steps to improve your wait time in class
  • Describe how student mistakes offer opportunities for learning
  • Apply new strategies to engage the class in evaluating and justifying different answers
  • Structure a three-part class based on student thinking and discussion
05/11/2018 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
05/18/2018 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
End Date: 
05/27/2018 - 11:45pm
206 Maple Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
PD Center: 
Topic Area: 
Educator Effectiveness
Mathematics and Adult Numeracy
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